Say goodbye to Miami and New Orleans. No matter what we do to curb global warming, these and other beloved U.S. cities will sink below rising seas, according to a study Monday.
But making extreme carbon cuts and moving to renewable energy could save millions of people living in iconic coastal areas of the United States, said the findings in the Oct. 12 edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a peer-reviewed journal.
We hear the two terms used all the time, often interchangeably. What's the meaning of these words and how do people perceive them?
The big uncertainty is the issue of when.
"Some of this could happen as early as next century," Strauss told AFP
"But it might also take many centuries," he added.
"Just think of a pile of ice in a warm room. You know it is going to melt, but it is harder to say how quickly."
To bring this issue home for people in the United States, the study pinpoints at-risk land where more than 20 million people reside.
The authors projected business-as-usual carbon emissions, in addition to the complication of the melting West Antarctic ice sheet, a process some experts fear is irreversible.
They also considered what might happen if the world were to make a big turnaround, reaching peak carbon emissions by 2020.
This radical scenario would have to occur far earlier than the current aim of some world powers to peak by 2050, said Strauss.